Even though I predicted that the New York Yankees would win the 2012 World Series, I am not surprised that they lost to the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series. First, the Yankees played a terrific Tigers team that boasts the best pitcher in baseball in Justin Verlander. In addition, any team that makes the postseason can win. It takes getting hot at the right time. The Tigers did, and the Yankees did not. I credit Detroit for taking advantage of a struggling Yankees' offense. All Tiger pitchers were amazing.
I am, however, surprised at the way that the Yankees lost. I would never have predicted a sweep. After they scored four ninth-inning runs to force extra innings in Game 1, I thought that the Yankees may have found the offense that mostly disappeared in the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles. They lost Game 1 to Detroit in 12 innings, but that did not appear so devastating at the time.
Then, the Yankees announced that Derek Jeter broke his ankle and would miss the rest of the postseason. From that point on, the Yankees looked lifeless. I could understand how a young and inexperienced team would deflate after losing its best player and main catalyst, but these are mostly well-experienced veterans, many of whom have won a World Series. This type of team normally steps up in that situation. Instead, the entire offense fizzled. The Yankees scored two runs in Games 2, 3, and 4 combined.
The Yankees hit only .157 in the four games. MLB.com's Greg Johns reports that the .157 average is the second lowest in ALCS history, which dates back to 1969. The Yankees scored six total runs. This is the same team that finished second in the Majors in runs scored and first in home runs in the regular season. A lineup like this should have fared better against even a strong pitching staff such as Detroit's.
Individually, most Yankee hitters struggled. Ichiro Suzuki had six hits, but no one else had more than three. Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, and Mark Teixeira had three each. Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and Alex Rodriguez combined for two hits. The offense just could not get anything started outside of that ninth inning of Game 1.
The Yankees' loss does not surprise me, but the way they played does. I do not mind seeing my favorite teams lose as long as they play well. In this case, the Yankees just looked lifeless.
Major League Baseball, 2012 Postseason Schedule, mlb.mlb.com.
Major League Baseball, 2012 Regular Season Sortable Team Statistics, mlb.mlb.com.
Major League Baseball, Yankees' Sortable Player ALCS Statistics, mlb.mlb.com.
Raymond was born in Connecticut into a family spilt between the Red Sox and Yankees. Although he grew up in Florida, Raymond became a Yankee fan. He played baseball through high school and soon after became a varsity coach. Raymond previously produced radio sports talk shows and hosted a weekly MLB radio call-in show. Follow Raymond on Twitter @RayBureau.
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